In the 1800s there were theologians who mocked the notion that Israel would one day be gathered and become a nation again. This presupposition of limiting God led to them spiritualizing many Bible prophecy passages in the Bible.
These same type of replacement theologians today view the passage of the Israelite 144,000 in Revelation 7:1–8 within the same spiritualizing hermeneutic. Their most-often cited objection to seeing this passage being fulfilled literally in twelve tribes of Israel is that they are now “lost” to us after more than two millennia. So they spiritualize the 144,000 making them.. . . you guessed it, the Church.
The problem is that these theologians, once again, limit God’s knowledge and power. They may have been lost to us, but not to God, who is sovereign over all things. It has been known to us in the West for a couple of decades or more that there are pockets of people groups scattered namely in the East and Middle East who claim to be part of the northern tribes of Israel who were exiled in 722 BC. There are many documented accounts supporting their Jewish customs, beliefs, and practices.
One of these accounts can be heard in a recent interview that Dr. Michael Brown had with Rabbi Harry Rozenberg about possible identities on some of the “lost tribes of Israel.” It is quite remarkable. Rabbi Harry Rozenberg is not a Christian as you will see in the video, so pray that he will come to recognize that Jesus is the true Messiah. See the video below.
“After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth so that no wind could blow on earth or sea or against any tree. I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to damage earth and sea, saying, “Do not damage the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have marked the servants of our God with a seal on their foreheads.” And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred forty-four thousand, sealed out of every tribe of the people of Israel:
From the tribe of Judah twelve thousand sealed, from the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand, from the tribe of Gad twelve thousand, from the tribe of Asher twelve thousand, from the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand, from the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand, from the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand, from the tribe of Levi twelve thousand, from the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand, from the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand, from the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand, from the tribe of Benjamin twelve thousand sealed.” (Rev 7:1–8)